College basketball odds and betting picks for Saturday (2/26)


The 2021-22 college basketball season is coming down the home stretch, and with conference play winding down and March approaching, we get some great matchups between the top teams in the country. Below is my analysis and favorite bets for Saturday’s slate.


Kansas vs. Baylor

(Line: Baylor -4, DraftKings Sportsbook)

Baylor is coming off an overtime brawl where they looked banged up and flat-out exhausted (they even conformed to playing zone majority of the second half). They probably would have taken the loss if it wasn’t for a masterful shooting performance from Adam Flagler. Yes, they do have four days to rest up and recover, but with the status of LJ Cryer up in the air and Jon Tchamwa Tchatchoua out for the season, Baylor could still be limping into this bout against a Kansas team trending upward. The Jayhawks have seen various versions of Baylor’s “no middle” defense in Big 12 play and we know that big physical guards are the best antidote against it, which Kansas has, and we saw have success in their first meeting. Shutting down Akinjo should again be the vocal point of Bill Self’s gameplan and with the way Baylor has looked recently I like getting the points here.

The Pick: Kansas +4

Kentucky vs. Arkansas

(Line: Arkansas -2, DraftKings Sportsbook)

Kentucky has been down the entire backcourt due to injuries but have rallied behind the Lexington crowd and some young role players stepping up as they’ve rattled off two straight home wins. If TyTy Washington and Sahvir Wheeler are both held out again on the road against a surging Arkansas team, it’s hard to imagine them pulling out another shorthanded victory. The Hogs are playing their best basketball of the year and the way to beat Kentucky is limiting them on the glass and in transition. The absence of Washington and Wheeler significantly worsens Kentucky’s transition game and the improvement of Arkansas’ defense behind Jaylen Williams inside has translated into Arkansas being the best defensive team in SEC play. I think Williams is able to slow down Oscar Tshiebwe enough in this one where the Fayetteville crowd motivates the Arkansas offense to a win over a shorthanded Kentucky backcourt.

The Pick: Arkansas -2

Auburn vs. Tennessee

(Line: Auburn +3, DraftKings Sportsbook)

The Tigers have come back to earth a bit in February, and we’ve really seen them continue to have some struggles on the road. They enter Knoxville against a Volunteers team that is playing their best basketball of the season. Tennessee has always been stout defensively (currently third nationally per KenPom, DraftKings Sportsbook) but it’s the offensive turnaround behind improved floor spacing and more consistent minutes for Josiah-Jordan James and Zakai Zeigler that has led to their hot streak. Auburn’s strength lies in their frontcourt behind a brick wall built by Walker Kessler and Jabari Smith, who make it almost impossible to score at the rim. Tennessee has done a great job all season slowing down opposing bigs (Arizona bigs and Tshiebwe twice for example) and offensively they rely on the playmaking and shot making of their back court as opposed to attacking the rim. Auburn is super talented, but their poor shot selection does catch up with them at times and I like the schematic advantages Tennessee has in this home matchup.

The Pick: Tennessee -3


USC vs. Oregon

(Line: Oregon -3, DraftKings Sportsbook)

USC has been flirting with disaster over the last few weeks including a tight game at home with Pacific and a double-overtime win against the 3-23 Oregon State Beavers. They now travel to a super talented Oregon team that has been extremely inconsistent all season but look to be playing better basketball recently coming off back-to-back impressive performances. It will be the USC frontcourt against the Oregon back court in this one, and I always typically side with the better back court in these kinds of matchups. The Trojans had no answer for Will Richardson in their first matchup in LA where he cooked them for 28 points while Dana Altman used his unique defensive schemes to slow down the USC frontcourt. Dana Altman always has the Ducks playing their best basketball heading into March and this is no exception. USC looks to be on the brink of some regression, and I think it starts here on the road at Oregon.

The Pick: Oregon -3

Purdue vs. Michigan State

(Line: Purdue -4, DraftKings Sportsbook)

The fall of Michigan State is real, as they are losers of five of their last six games including two at the Breslin Center. The fall has come behind negative shooting regression after shooting near 40% from three all season and declining defensive intensity, especially on the interior, which has historically been Tom Izzo’s calling card. Things do not get easier for the struggling Spartans as Purdue comes into East Lansing with one of the best front courts in the country, including Zach Edey and Trevion Williams. Izzo has not been able to find an answer recently as the Spartans have given up back-to-back monster performances to big men Kofi Cockburn and Keegan Murray. On the offensive side, Purdue can really be exploited in their perimeter pick-and-roll defense, yet the inconsistency from the Spartan back court leads me to believe they won’t be able to take advantage of the Purdue defensive flaws enough to keep up with Purdue’s dynamic scoring ability. I see Purdue running away late and another Sparty loss due to their continued inconsistent rotations and continuity.

The Pick: Purdue -4

Duke vs. Syracuse

(Line: Duke -7, DraftKings Sportsbook)

This year’s Syracuse zone might be the worst in all of Jim Boeheim’s tenure, as they are currently 192nd in the country in defensive efficiency per KenPom. Good thing they have elite shooters on the offensive side of the ball, or it would be a pretty disastrous season for the Orange. Duke has the perfect makeup behind dynamic blue-chip swing man Paolo Banchero at the high post, an athletic glass cleaner in Mark Williams and multiple spot up shooters to absolutely shred this awful zone defense. Syracuse’s offense is predicated behind isolation and shot making ability and Duke has pretty solid individual defenders to combat that. I don’t see Syracuse getting any stops against Duke’s ball movement and skilled bigs and should have some trouble executing on offense. Duke by double digits.

The Pick: Duke -7

(Sign up for FTN Bets today for $49.99 a month!)

Rutgers vs. Wisconsin

(Line: Rutgers -2, DraftKings Sportsbook)

Must-win situation for Rutgers for their tourney hopes as they host a sizzling Wisconsin team who are winners of five of their last six. After stringing together some impressive wins, Rutgers are losers of two straight. The good news for the Scarlet Knights is that one of those wins was a road win in Wisconsin and Rutgers has the perfect personnel and blueprint that causes matchup issues for the Badgers. Wisconsin’s swing offense revolves around mobile bigs and the playmaking ability of one of the best wings in the country, Johnny Davis. Defensively Rutgers has the best shut down defender in Caleb McConnell who gave Davis nightmares in their first matchup. Cliff Omoruyi and Ron Harper have no problems stepping away from the basket to defend the Wisconsin mobile bigs in the swing offense as well, which forces the Badger offense to run through the shot making ability of Brad Davison. That is a recipe for success in matching up with Wisconsin. Rutgers has switched point guard duties over to a greatly improved Paul Mulcahy (minus his last game) and with the RAC (or should I say Jersey Mikes arena, DraftKings Sportsbook) rocking on a Saturday, Rutgers should have a really good opportunity to pull out the win.

The Pick: Rutgers -2

Louisiana Tech vs. North Texas

(Line: North Texas -5, DraftKings Sportsbook)

North Texas has surprisingly dominated Conference USA to the tune of a 14-1 record with road wins over both UAB and Louisiana Tech. The thing that sticks out to me is that Louisiana Tech dominated majority of the game until down the stretch where they blew a 17-point second half lead. North Texas is a team that wants to play in the half court and at an extremely slow pace (357th nationally in tempo per KenPom, DraftKings Sportsbook). The halfcourt game should favor the Bulldogs here has North Texas does not have an answer for the All-Conference monster inside, Kenneth Lofton. Grant McCasland is a terrific game planner and the emergence of Tyler Perry, especially in late game situations, has taken the Mean Green to a new level. But in a game that should see limited possessions and a lot of work in the paint, I like siding with the team getting the points in a sell high spot against North Texas in what should be another one that comes down to the wire.

The Pick: Louisiana Tech +5

Previous UFC Vegas 49 Betting Breakdown Next 2022 Arnold Palmer Invitational Betting Preview